Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, and Memory Loss Disorders
Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine Treatment
Loss of memory can be a terrifying experience for those experiencing it as well as for their families and loved ones. Sometimes loss of memory is only Age-Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI), a natural sluggishness of memory storage and recall which occurs as we age. The syndrome Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment (AMCI) is more severe and it exhibits Alzheimer’s Disease-like pathology.
Diagnostic evaluations such as history, physical and neurological exam, mental status exam, brain scans (e.g., MRI, CAT) and psychological testing can define the severity of memory loss and brain-related dysfunction as well as their cause(s).
One fact is very certain. The sooner that memory loss is addressed and treated the better the prognosis for arresting further deterioration and loss of function. However, even if memory loss and dysfunction has progressed to severe Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, the brain still has an astonishing capacity to heal, so for some patients it is never too late. Unfortunately, pharmacological
management, at best, is palliative and transiently effective, often causing adverse effects. But certain nutrients intrinsic to human biochemistry (orthomolecules) match or exceed pharmacological drug benefits in double-blind, randomized, controlled trials (RCT), with superior safety.
Age-Associated Memory Impairment (AAMI) is a feasible target for early intervention against AD, beginning with the modifiable AD or Dementia risk factors – smoking, hypertension, homocysteine, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance,and obesity. Stress reduction, avoidance of toxins, and mental and physical exercise are important aspects of prevention.
The diet should emphasize omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA); flavonoids and other antioxidant nutrients; and B vitamins, especially folate, B6, and B12. Dietary supplementation is best focused on those proven from randomized controlled trials: the phospholipids phosphatidylserine (PS) and glycerophosphocholine (GPC), the energy nutrient acetyl-Lcarnitine, vitamins C and E, and other antioxidants. A comprehensive integrative strategy initiated early in cognitive decline is the most pragmatic approach to controlling progression to Alzheimer’s Disease.
Specific Integrative Medicine Diagnostic and Treatment Strategies for Alzheimer's
♦ In-depth Functional Medicine Diagnostic Evaluation to determine precisely which nutritional deficiencies, toxicities and metabolic imbalances, and hormonal and neurotransmitter imbalances, are interfering with optimal brain function.
♦ Psychological Testing for Frontal Lobe Impairment to assess attentiveness and impulse control, sometimes a warning sign for dysfunction to follow.
♦ Full range of Dental Services. Often the toxicity of mercury fillings or chronic tooth/gum infections can be the source of significant brain toxicity. Also an inability to properly chew food can be a cause of brain malnutrition.
♦ History, Physical, Neurological and Quantified Mental Status Exam to stage the memory loss and dysfunction; especially important to track progress.
♦ Brain Imagery Studies (CAT Scans, SPECT, MRI, PET) is crucial to determine the degree of progression and loss of brain tissue (if any).
♦ Medication Management, and finding natural alternatives to drugs which can cause unintended worsening of memory loss and worsening of symptoms.
♦ Treatment of Chronic Infections such as Lyme which can cause memory loss and other symptoms.
♦ Natural and Bio-Identical Neurotransmitter and Hormone Therapies to improve mood, function, energy, attention and activities of daily living.
♦ Intravenous Therapies to chelate out toxins, administer nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants(e.g., glutathione) and phospholipids.
♦ Oxidative Therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen, which can assist oxygen deprived brain cells.
♦ Lifestyle Changes (e.g., exercise), Stress Management & Food Preparation Classes and Counseling.
♦ Cardiovascular Therapies to heal injured blood vessels and improve oxygen and nutrient delivery to a brain needing assistance to repair damage.
♦ Family Therapy and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy to improve coping and communication as the process of healing occurs.
♦ Coordination with the Provider Network of other support services such as in-home nursing care.
♦ Many other NIHA Therapies such as Allergy Elimination, Laser Therapy, Acupuncture, Cranio Sacral Therapy, FlexAware Fitness and Massage.
How to Proceed
On the first visit, patients will receive a medical evaluation. Laboratory testing will be recommended to determine the underlying biochemical imbalances or risk factors which may have caused or worsened the memory loss and brain dysfunction.
Nutritional, Detoxification, Dental and other Integrative Medicine recommendations (see above) will be recommended as you and/or your loved ones are invited to be a co-equal partner(s) in deciding what therapies are best for you.
The four criteria which should always be considered in determining any treatment strategy are:
1) Safety—Can a therapy cause side effects or be harmful?
2) Efficacy—How well is the therapy likely to work or be effective?
3) Expense—How much does it cost?
4) Difficulty—How much of a nuisance is the treatment and how unpleasant is it to use?
Many kinds of chronic medical and psychiatric problems and their pharmacological treatments can cause
memory loss and lead to serious dysfunction, as well as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. These disorders
can be devastating on individuals suffering from these problems as well as on their family and their
loved ones. At NIHA we will help you deal with these enormous stressors and project a sense of hope as we attempt to find the safest, most effective, least costly and easiest to use therapeutic options possible.
Our decades of clinical experience suggests that the integration of many kinds of therapies discussed here
are synergistic and potentiating, and when used in an intelligent and skillful manner, they can arrest and in
many patients even reverse memory loss. We believe that families specifically, as well as our modern world
in general, desperately needs the wisdom of our elders, and to lose their critical knowledge and guidance
to potentially reversible brain dysfunction is an unfathomable tragedy for all.